Veteran | 26 Years in the U.S. Army
What did you do in the service?
My specialty: Intelligence Officer; Signal and Human Intelligence
What was the biggest reason that led you to join the military?
I joined the Army in July 1961 upon graduating from high school and was inspired to join by older cousins who seem to enjoy both the Army and Air Force.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in the military?
The biggest lesson I learned is confidence, self-reliance, and the value of education.
Has the military made you a better person?
Yes, I would say the military made me a better person due to being both a leader and being led. You begin to appreciate certain positive qualities in those with whom you serve. The military gave me the confidence to function in any social or military environment. Even with race playing a role in my assignments, I never give up.
What is your perspective of Patriotism?
To me, patriotism is your willingness to serve and die if necessary for others for a greater cause.
What was your experience transitioning from active duty to civilian life?
My transition from the military was somewhat easy, as I made friends with retired junior and senior officers, who help me find a quality civilian position as an Intelligence Operation research analyst within a short period of leaving active duty. Since leaving the military, I have been the president of the local branch of the NAACP, twice president of the rotary club, elected the CS District 11 School Board, co-founder of the Black Latino Leadership Coalition, as NAACP president spearheaded the establishment of the MLK, Jr By-pass over 20 years ago.
What advice would you give to others transitioning into civilian life?
Advice that I would offer others transitioning to civilian life is taking advantage of every opportunity to lead. Educate yourself, which includes college, and advance university-level opportunities.
What are things that people should consider before they decide to serve their country?
We should consider many things when joining the service. Know yourself, your goals, and understand the Army or any service is a microcosm of the United States society. There will be racism, sexism, However, do not allow any obstacle to stop you. I had to go around the status quo to get things done when people of higher rank were obstructions. Being in the military is not easy, but learn what you can do to support the mission and help others.